Take a change from the soul-less resorts and meet the locals - people that know the area, know the people, know the places to go, places to eat. Hunter Valley Wine Country has a number of stylish B&Bs owned and operated by long-term residents that are proud of their area. Many b&bs are pet-friendly.
Wollombi, the southern gateway to the Hunter Valley, is a quaint and quiet rich in history, aboriginal rock engravings, the convict-build Great North Road and historic buildings within the village centre which acts as the hub for the thriving arts community. But its the scenery, National Parks and very small and interesting cellar doors and restaurants that attracts visitors, plus the renowned Wollombi Tavern which serves the unique Dr. Jurds Jungle Juice brew at the bar.
We call this area "the tranquil side of the Hunter Valley" and it is not hard to see why - few crowds, plenty of open spaces, locals that take the time to have a chat.
As well as grapes, Broke Fordwich has twelve established olive groves with over 30,000 trees in production - the oils and table olives are widely available - as well as an alpaca stud farm open with a wide array of alpaca wool products.
The first viticultural sub-region to be designated in Australia was Broke-Fordwich, recognising the unique soils and micro-climate of the region. Many of the long-established Hunter Valley winemaking dynasties has drawn their grapes from Broke-Fordwich for many decades.
Fordwich is the name of the area around a hill to the west of the village of Broke, an outcrop of red basalt soil much sought after by wine growers. Although this land is still used for vineyards, there is very limited public access to this area these days, with most of the cellar door sales centred along the Wollombi Brook.
Enjoy Exploring Broke Fordwich
The Mount View area is located south of the main tourist route of Pokolbin and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery and views you will find in the Hunter region. If its rolling hills, lush green fields with fat happy cows and views as far as the eye can see is what you are after, then don't miss Mount View.
There are a handful of cellar doors, 2 restaurants (one being the acclaimed Bistro Molines) plus an eclectic mix of boutique accommodation including cottages that have panoramic views, spas for two or more, and cosy fires. Whilst the roads are winding and unsealed, they only add to the laid back, relaxed country feel of Mount View.
Lovedale sits to the East of the main Pokolbin area and is known as the quiet side of the Hunter Valley. It has a definite unhurried pace and doesn’t suffer from overcrowding or traffic on weekends. Lovedale offers visitors a selection of smaller family owned wineries and accommodation, restaurants, artist galleries and activities like golf, hot air ballooning, chocolate tasting, olives and olive oil and horse-riding. Some of the views from the Lovedale area are simply breathtaking, with the Brokenback Range forming a spectacular backdrop.
Just because it’s a small, relatively quiet and somewhat unknown pocket of the Hunter Valley doesn’t mean the area isn’t up to scratch when it comes to the wines its producing.
Pokolbin is considered the epicentre of the Hunter Valley and is where most of the areas first vineyards were planted. Pokolbin is where you will find the largest collection of wineries, accommodation houses, restaurants and activities. And, of course, you will also find many of the original wine families making their wines from headquarters in Pokolbin.
Whilst Pokolbin is busy on weekends, there are a number of boutique cellar doors, restaurants and accommodation properties down quiet country lanes within Pokolbin.